Ask Paul: Who Gets “Hey Cortana”?

Posted on March 27, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows Phones with 0

Microsoft has been quickly advancing Windows Phone over the past year, a fact that gets lost in all the hand-wringing around the fate of the platform and the inability or reluctance of wireless carriers to deliver those updates to customers. So naturally there are questions about how or when Windows Phone users may get certain features. Like “Hey Cortana.”

Paul M. asks:

I just got an update to my phone to get my Lumia 735 (AT&T) up to Denim. The OS version is 8.10.14234.375 but I don’t have the Hey Cortana option in Settings. Do you know why?



Yeah, Hey Cortana is only available on the Lumia 930, 1520 and Lumia Icon with Windows Phone 8.1.1. I think it has to do with a combination of requirements related to processor, RAM and SensorCore.

So what is Hey Cortana?

Hey Cortana is a voice activation feature for the Cortana personal digital assistant feature that debuted in Windows Phone 8.1. It’s optional, and must be enabled before it can be used. You do so in the Hey Cortana settings app (Settings, Hey Cortana), curiously, and not from Cortana settings.


The Hey Cortana app requires that you go through some surprisingly painful training so that phone wakes up only for the “Hey Cortana” phrase. It took me many frustrating tries to get it successfully completed on my Lumia 930 (and previous to today I actually gave up on it).


Once it is set up, you can access Cortana hands-free by speaking to your phone. Just say, “Hey Cortana” and fire away. Assuming of course you have the right combination of phone and software updates.

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